Arlyne Gonzalez

In construing Anne K. Mellor’s essay in dissecting Mary Shelly’s novel, Frankenstein, she is responding and questioning the novel’s content that revolves around the ideology of science. Mellor carried the notion that science must not be manipulated nor taken lightly because she believed science should not consume one’s life. Mellor poses the question of Victor immediately depicting his experiment and engineering a male creature rather than a female creature. Other than that obvious detail in the novel, Mellor explored how “Erasmus Darwin, and Luigi Galvani-together with the teachings of two of their ardent disciples, Adam Walker, and Percy Shelly, were crucial to Mary Shelly’s understanding of science” (Mellor, 2). Mellor is emphasizing how Shelly to gain knowledge of science ideologies, she had to generate research and apply that research to her novel. Mellor was focused on how the gender roles that were presented in the novel; the male characters playing a dominant role and are considered to be in the upper-class division, while the female characters were considered to be in the lower-class division and throughout the novel, the women often faced death fates and encompassed a weak sense of self. For instance, Victor’s mother died of scarlet fever, even though Victor got ill multiple times in the novel and overcame those illnesses. As well as Justine Moritz, a young girl who was immediately convicted guilty for a crime she did not commit, and she falsely confessed to the crime and sacrificed her life in an execution. The judge nor anyone opposed Justine’s execution nor defended her innocence. Although Mellor did point out an important gender role in the novel, what was missing from her evaluation was the fact the entire novel was written by a woman, Mary Shelly, an adolescent woman at the age of nineteen writing about science and how science ideologies affected society as a whole in the nineteen century. Mary Shelly was challenging women’s’ status in society by educating herself about science, she was placing a pedestal for women and justifying to the world that women as well can express knowledge on enlightened ideals.

Mellor recognized the dangerous hazards that Victor encountered when he generated the creature. Victor was being guided by his ignorant conscience and did not put forth much thought into what he was doing. Victor did not only want to play the role of God and challenge nature, but Victor encompassed a twisted mind where he wanted to play the role of giving birth as well. The novel steers away from natural gender roles, whereas the woman is the one who conceives the infant and the father is a contributing factor to creating the infant. The novel interchanges gender roles and illustrates Victor inventing another creature applying science methods. The creature was an overgrown infant that encompassed deformed physical features because the creature was generated by science, not the natural way of being conceived. The fact that Victor wanted to play the role of giving birth triggers the idea of Victor questioning his gender, more specifically, his sexuality. Meaning, Victor was always fascinated with beauty and perfection. It can be concluded that Victor was never in love with Elizabeth, but much rather her self-image. Can it be that Victor perhaps wanted to be a woman? Did he envy Elizabeth’s physical features and was not truly devastated by her death? Victor encompasses serious and twisted issues with himself and throughout the novel, he is isolated from his family and is alone with his dark thoughts and sorrow. It can be concluded that Victor was not happy with his life and knew that something was missing from his life but did not quite know what the missing puzzle piece to his gloomy life.   victor-experiment